Should Chipboard Flooring Be Staggered?

Chipboard flooring is made from wood chips and strands bonded together with resin and wax, which are subsequently finished with a layer of veneer or laminate. Considering how they’re made, does chipboard flooring need to be staggered?

chipboard flooring

When installing chipboard flooring, you must stagger the boards to create a stronger and more stable floor. In other words, the ends of the boards must not be aligned with each other. The boards must also be glued or nailed down to prevent them from shifting.

The rest of this article details a few related topics, including how to stop your chipboard from squeaking and whether a chipboard floor needs to land on a joist.

Do I Need To Stagger Chipboard Flooring?

If you’re asking yourself “why stagger chipboard flooring” when stability is the only benefit, that’s actually not the case. A staggered chipboard flooring also offers a more aesthetic and polished look to your house.

stagger chipboard flooring

While it’s not strictly necessary to stagger the boards, it’s generally recommended. If you stagger the boards, leave enough space between them, so the joints don’t line up. This will prevent the floor from becoming weak and creaky over time.

The reason staggered chipboard flooring is more stable than lined-up chipboard flooring is simple. Imagine a typical brick wall. Notice how each brick is placed relative to other bricks? 

If they’re stacked with their sides aligned, and you hit the stack with a large amount of force, they’ll easily crumble. But if they’re staggered, the force gets distributed across the staggered bricks and minimizes the likelihood that they’ll fall.  

Does Chipboard Flooring Need To Land on a Joist?

Chipboard flooring needs to land on a joist. This provides extra support and helps distribute the weight evenly. Landing the chipboard flooring on joists can help prevent the floor from sagging or becoming uneven over time.

Another advantage of using joists is that they can help to insulate the floor. By trapping heat in the joists, the floor will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This can help to reduce energy bills and make the floor more comfortable to walk on.

If you need more information on chipboard flooring and insulation, here’s a good video from Gosforth Handyman:

Does Chipboard Flooring Need an Expansion Gap?

Expansion gaps are important in any flooring installation, including chipboard flooring. Chipboard is made of wood fibers, particles, and resins and is prone to expanding and contracting with changes in temperature and humidity. This can cause the flooring to warp or buckle if an expansion gap isn’t used.

So how do you know how big of an expansion gap to leave? Generally, you’ll want to leave an expansion gap of at least 1/8 inch (3 mm) around the room’s perimeter.

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Should Chipboard Flooring Be Glued and Screwed?

Gluing and screwing are common methods of chipboard flooring installation. Both have a few advantages over other methods, such as nailing or stapling. 

For one, they make for more durable flooring. The screws and adhesive create a stronger bond than nails or staples, meaning your floor will be less likely to suffer from warping or other damage over time.

Another benefit of gluing and screwing is easier installation. You don’t have to worry about ensuring that the nails or staples are completely straight because the screws will do all the work for you. If you make a mistake, all you have to do is remove the screws and try again. Also, there’s little risk of damage to your flooring, as there’s no risk of nails or staples popping out.

Which Side of the Chipboard Flooring Goes Up?

When you are laying out chipboard flooring, you should always lay the smooth side up. Not only will it make your floor look better, but it is also more comfortable to walk on. 

laying out chipboard flooring

Also, since the rough side has grooves, it’s more likely to accumulate dust and debris that’ll affect your floor’s aesthetics.

How To Install Chipboard Flooring

If you’re planning to install chipboard flooring in your home, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it, as well as some tips and tricks to make the process easier.

  1. Prior to the installation process, you’ll want to keep the chipboards in the place where you’ll install them for at least a couple of days. Doing this will minimize the chances of the board warping. Make sure the boards are completely free of moisture as well.
  2. Apply a smooth layer of adhesive where the chipboard panels will be.
  3. Put a chipboard flooring panel on top of one part where you applied the adhesive. 
  4. Screw through the slots to attach them to the joists.
  5. Apply another layer of adhesive to the screw head. You’ll want to put adhesive on the tongue and groove joints as well.
  6. You’ll notice that there are slots between each chipboard panel that look like jigsaw puzzles. Push them together until the adhesive attaches them to each other.
  7. Repeat the process with the next row of joists.

Note: It’s important to stagger the laying of tongue-and-groove chipboard flooring to prevent stress cracks in the joists underneath.

If you’re planning to paint your chipboard floor, I have a more in-depth article on the subject. 

How To Stop Your Chipboard From Squeaking

Squeaky chipboard flooring is caused by the wood fibers rubbing together. Over time, the wood will deteriorate, and its fibers will start to splinter. 

There are a few ways to stop your chipboard from squeaking, such as:

  • Using furniture wax or wood oil to lubricate the fibers.
  • Tightening the screws holding the chipboard together.
  • Filling the gaps between the chipboard panels with glue or putty.

If you still have trouble with your squeaky chipboard, you may need to replace the affected panels.


There are a few things to consider when answering the question: “Should you stagger chipboard flooring?” The main reason to do so is for stability and durability, but it can also be an aesthetic choice. If you’re worried about the floor’s durability, staggering the flooring can help reduce wear and tear.